Unison’s eleventh annual medal ceremonies saw more than 530 young rugby, football, hockey and netball players presented with medals at the close of the junior winter sports season.
Held for each code during the past two weeks at the Bay Outreach Centre in Hastings, the medal ceremonies acknowledge parents and coaches, and reward one player from each team who has shown excellence in the values of work ethic, discipline and fair play – both on and off the field.
Former Silver Fern, Irene van Dyk presented at the junior netball ceremony and said recognising young athletes not only for being talented, but for the team player they are is worth gold.
“When I was younger, only the best players would get recognition after the season so it is fantastic that these netballers are getting rewarded for their contribution. You can see it makes them feel valued not only as a player, but as a great human being.
“I can image the medals would be proudly paraded, especially because of what they stand for. I believe every child, parent and school needs to celebrate exactly why the kids have received these medals in the first place. Being recognised with their peers, and among other schools no doubt makes it even more special.”
Year five medal recipient, Alisileatulai Tuu from Irongate School, said she was excited to receive her medal. “I felt very proud of myself and enjoyed getting up on the stage to receive my medal in front of lots of people.
“I love playing netball, it’s my favourite sport. I like playing the attack position so I can shoot goals and love to pass the ball to my team.”
Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough, said Unison has been able to engage with over 10,000 children and their families this year through its Greatest Supporter Programme.
“We’re passionate about supporting our local communities, and we’re extremely proud that our partnerships are helping to encourage healthy, active children in Hawke’s Bay. They are also a great vehicle for us to deliver electrical safety messages to keep our young people safe around electrical assets.
“The medal ceremonies are not only a highlight of the season – for both players and Unison – they also play an important part in helping to shape these young players.”